Adoption and Alternative Child Care Week Celebration 2022

Jhannah Capistrano

The Philippines’ new adoption law declares the second week of June as Adoption and Alternative Child Care Week (AACCW)! The theme for this year was “Journeying Together: Discovering the New Law and Celebrating Legal Adoption”.

Last June 9 and 10, our team was part of the very first observance of AACCW. We were blessed and honored to celebrate alongside the National Authority for Child Care (NACC), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Child Caring Agencies, Child Placement Agencies, NGOs, orphan care advocates, and adoptive families.

Taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

To start the event, Mhike Palanca from NACC hosted. Opening remarks were shared by DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, followed by a discussion of the salient points of RA 11642 or the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Administrative Child Care Act.

There were also media practitioners who talked about the impact of the media on adoption. Insights about this topic were shared by AC Nicholls from CNN Philippines, adoptive father Atty. Rod Nepomuceno from Discovery Channel, and BJ Lingan from PRGN Creatives.

Rod Nepomuceno taken by the National Authority Child Care of the Philippines (NACC)

“The key is for stakeholders to influence the media about adoption.” – Rod Nepomuceno

Later that day, ROHEI Foundation’s advocates Rachel Escosar-Arellano, Ina Ferrer, and Nathan Pante shared the beauty of adoption in their lives as adoptees as opposed to the stigma that is prevalent in Filipino culture.

ROHEI Foundation staff and advocates

In the afternoon, ROHEI Foundation’s very own Executive Director Chrina Cuna-Henson hosted discussions about how adoption is a declaration of love. During this segment, adoptive parents Alvi and Rina Siongco and Judge Jane and Attorney Romeo Evangelista Jr. shared their respective stories as parents who chose to welcome their children into their families through adoption. Then, mother-daughter tandem Melissa and Carissa Moran explained their family dynamic at a time when adoption wasn’t so “popular”.

Taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

To end the first day of the celebration, Michelle Gormley —  Bahay Sibol‘s Executive Director and an adoptive parent— shared her experiences and expertise.

Michelle Gormley taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

“The hope is for more Filipino families to adopt and raise Filipino Children.” – Michelle Gormley

The second day was just as eventful!

Discussions in the morning were hosted by Marivir Tungol from NORFIL Foundation Inc. During this segment, officers from Philippines Without Orphans spoke about why they believe adoption is worth celebrating. First, Mike and Malen Papadopoulos discussed the joys and challenges of raising an adopted child with special needs. Then, Pastor Kathy Cueson shared her family’s unconventional yet encouraging journey of adopting two children at the same time.

This was followed by Paz U. de Guzman, the Executive Director of Parenting Foundation of the Philippines. In her talk, she broke myths and misconceptions about adoption.

Paz U. de Guzman taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

“Adoption should be about a family for a child, not a child for a family.” – Paz U. de Guzman

Then,  Adoption Support Group CALABARZON‘s president Romeo Brosas gave recommendations on how to tell children they are adopted. Accompanying him was his family, including his adopted children Blake and Bianca.

Romeo, Blake, and Bianca Brosas taken by the National Authority Child for Care (NACC)

“The best time to tell a child they’re adopted is as early and often as possible, well before a child can even fully understand.” – Romeo Brosas

Then, Josefina “Katchie” Dimalaluan from CRIBS Foundation Inc. touched upon the topic of adoptees who search for their birth families. She shared that though it may be a delicate process, adoptive parents can help their children satisfy their curiosity, understand themselves, and heal all throughout this journey.

Josefina “Katchie” Dimalaluan taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

During the afternoon, Danilo Macalagay from Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF) hosted.

Two adoptive families the Sebastian family (represented by Bebet Sebastian) and the Gil family (represented by Gil Velez) gave heartwarming talks about how wonderful adoption is their lives. Afterward, we enjoyed performances by adoptees Jana Sebastian, Bianca Brosas, and Mikky and Miguel Cueson.

The event ended with closing remarks by Undersecretary Glenda Relova who is the Executive Director of the National Authority for Child Care. She shared, “Ang lahat po ng ating ginagawa ay upang mapadali at mapabilis ang proseso para sa ating mga kababayang naghahangad na mag-ampon ng bata at mabigyan ng wasto at responsableng mga magulang ang bawat nangangailangang bata ng pamilya — whether domestically or internationally. [Everything we do is to simplify and speed up the process for our countrymen who want to adopt children and to give proper and responsible parents to every child who needs a family — whether domestically or internationally.]”- Glenda D. Relova

Usec. Glenda D. Relova taken by the National Authority for Child Care (NACC)

This event was a great reminder that advocating for adoption is a collaborative effort. It really does take a village to raise a child — whether adopted or not. As advocates with the same heart for orphaned, abandoned, and neglected children in the Philippines, may we all continue to inspire hope, joy, courage, and purpose across generations!

The ROHEI Foundation team with other Child Placement Agencies and advocates

Listen to the stories of some of the event’s speakers!

  1. PODCAST: The truth about being adopted with Ina Ferrer and Carissa Moran (Part 1) https://open.spotify.com/episode/2usXIq6WSLxtYtKwdQYt9s?si=99b073af7c974228
  2. PODCAST: The truth about being adopted with Ina Ferrer and Carissa Moran (Part 2) https://open.spotify.com/episode/2usXIq6WSLxtYtKwdQYt9s?si=99b073af7c974228
  3. PODCAST: Is “ampon” a bad word? Talking about adoption vocabulary with Rachel Escoasr-Arellano and Nathan Pane (Part 1) https://open.spotify.com/episode/3dkWe7ros5Pz42Rvozicit?si=fd40c5daa43e489e
  4. PODCAST: Is “ampon” a bad word? Talking about adoption vocabulary with Rachel Escoasr-Arellano and Nathan Pane (Part 2) https://open.spotify.com/episode/3njCxoVEzYWBayM2wmbuVf?si=fc8ab0e411cf4315
  5. LIVE CHAT: Father’s Day Live Chat with Rod Nepomuceno #LoveIsThickerThanBlood https://www.facebook.com/ROHEIFoundation/videos/1824656634342525
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